Members of the South Carolina National Guard are deploying to Texas to join in the effort to help secure the U.S. border with Mexico. The National Guardsmen will bring aerial surveillance helicopters and support crews to help Border Patrol agents in interdicting illegal border crossings.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced on Friday that his state is sending two UH-72A Lakota helicopters and a dozen soldiers to join the nearly 750 Texas National Guard troops who are working to support Border Patrol efforts to secure the border, the Greenville News reported.
“The highly trained men and women of the South Carolina National Guard are ready and able to support President Trump’s mission to secure our country’s border, and our entire state is grateful for their service and sacrifice,” Gov. McMaster said.
The guardsmen are members of the 2-151 Security and Support Aviation Batallion and are based in Greenville County, South Carolina. The unit is comprised of 175 soldiers, four Lakota helicopters, and six Chinook helicopters, officials stated.
McMaster spoke with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey about a month ago and offered his state’s assistance in responding to the call from President Donald Trump to deploy National Guard forces along the southwestern border with Mexico, the local newspaper reported.
South Carolina’s Adjutant General, Major General Robert E. Livingston, Jr., said his soldiers have performed this mission before.
“Our soldiers are well-trained and experienced with this mission, as they have conducted border security support previously in 2012 and 2016 as well as with Operation Jump Start in 2007,” the general explained.
The South Carolina Guardsmen are expected to arrive at Camp Mabry near Bastrop, Texas, next week. They are expected to be deployed through at least mid-September, Colonel Andrew Batten, South Carolina’s National Guard Aviation Brigade commander told reporters. The colonel explained the unique capabilities the Lakota helicopters bring to the border security mission. He said the Lakotas are equipped with forward-looking infrared cameras and are capable of detecting people crossing the border under the cover of darkness.